Monthly theme blog written for the awesome folks at Nourishing Storm. This month’s theme was written last month where the anniversary of a great loss influenced my thoughts on resilience. This post is dedicated to the memory of Gavin Wolfe and with love to everyone still bending in the wake.
I have this theory about life. What it’s all about. I’ve spent more than my fair share of time soul searching, wondering what this pretty ordinary existence is culminating towards. Isn’t that what I am supposed to be figuring out? My endgame? My destination? That’s what I used to think, what I used to try to figure out.
Thing is, life is about right now. That’s it. What comes tomorrow comes. Hell, maybe it doesn’t. We all have our own journey through life. And I’ve spent so much of it trying to figure out where it’s leading. Where I should be by now. And, really, where should I be now? Probably exactly where I am. That’s where my focus should be anyways.
Life is liquid. It’s always moving and it doesn’t stop for anyone or anything. My individual life is my own little chunk of this great source and is all mine to do with what I will. My own life is also fluid. So that big life has its ebbs and flows, tides high and low. And so does my little life. I try my best to stay in synch, in rhythm with the world. Which I can’t do unless I know my own beat, my own pace. So I start there.
I have to know who I am. Who I am when it’s high tide and the sun is shining and who I am when the tide is low and it’s pouring rain. I have to know my strength and power and so life tests me. And I’ve gotten tangled up in the waves. I’ve found my breath again and thought of swimming back to an old shore or forcing myself into the next set of waves knowing I’m not ready to take them on. In these moments, I have more recently figured out I may need to float for a bit. Be where I am. Remember who I am.
It’s like that on the yoga mat for me too. Sometimes I need to fold and restore. Sometimes I need to get into child’s pose. Because I know me. Because I know my breath isn’t there and I know my mind is wandering and I know even if I do get up into tree or crow or whatever pose is supposed to be next, it will be a waste of my energy if I’m not there with it.
I think that was the hardest thing for me to get. Restorative poses seem too nice to be productive, right? It seems like an indulgence. I have a handstand to conquer. But no. I’ll never get my handstand down if I don’t sort out all the things that keep me off balance on the mat.
And I’ll never be able to make the swim for any shore if I don’t take care of me. That just is what it is. I have to exhale. Sometimes I have to fold. Get quiet, get focused, connect and inhale. Then I can move on.
And maybe life decides to throw another wave in my face. But I’ve dealt with these waves for some time now. I know I get through them best when I move with them. Every wave that has knocked me down, left me with a little more grace for myself when the next set rolls through. With that grace, I give a little. I’m not as rigid. Not as hard on myself (or others for that matter). And that next wave feels more like a ripple when it hits. With my head above water, letting the tides roll with me, life is beautiful. I find new strength with each wave I master. I feel unstoppable.
And then the world drops something big into my waters. And the wake catches me off guard. I sink into the dark waters wondering if I have the strength to swim to any shore. Maybe I do and maybe I don’t but in this moment I’ll be damned if I don’t try.
In the midst of the downward spiral, the closer to the center I stay, the more room I have to move within. Again, like on the yoga mat . . . The closer I hold my own center and move from there, the further I go. When I focus on my Truth, I’m centered. When I cut myself some slack, my center expands making it easier to find my balance. I need the slack to allow for the sways. And I need the sways to stretch myself. To be flexible so I can go a little further.
Off the mat and back in the water, in the midst of the largest loop of the spiral that whips me to my edges, I need to bend to keep from snapping in two. It is these moments where everything is swirling and nothing is steady, I must find my beat, find my breath and my rhythm – yes, my drishti, my center, my Truth – and let the waters bend me however they may. And I must have faith I can bend as far as it will take me.
I have to stretch my heart open to life – fully in it – good, bad or indifferent, it is what it is only for this moment. I mean, that’s why we stretch, isn’t it? To go further, to go beyond our previous limits. There’s some good dirt to mine in outskirts of myself. I’d never know any of it, if I wasn’t willing to bend. And the more I bend, the softer my edges. The easier it is to stay open, no matter what rolls through next. The deeper my bends the smaller my sways. The more sure I am of my center.
Yeah, so I figure that’s what life’s about. These moments that take us to the craziest places. These moments that take us further. Further within and further without. Moments where we exhale and fold. Get right with ourselves. And moments when we breathe in and let life expand us. And making room for moments where we can to swim in the familiar calm waters of the middle ground. It takes all these moments to make a life. We’ve all been there with our joy and there with our pain. There with our fear and anger and there with our trust and love. Bending and flowing through it all. Been there and done that. And here we are. Here. We are resilient. No doubt in my mind about that.
Stay grounded in your center so you have the room around you to swim in life’s waters. To roll with the waves and find new shores. Bend when you think you will break and fold when you think you must quit. Soften your edges, stretch your limits and live true each moment. You can handle the ebbs and flows. You got this far, dear resilient soul. Keep going.